Mid-July, half past six in the morning. The metro is full, it's rush hour. In the midst of the fray a man, his body covered with smallpox. Doctor Arturo M. can't believe what he sees. Monkeypox wounds from head to toe, including hands. The doctor knows that the man is a walking source of infection. Because the virus is transmitted, among other things, through contact with these skin changes, in which the virus concentration is greatest. Nevertheless, neither the infected nor the other passengers seem to be interested. The doctor reacts. That's the man's story, which he later published in a thread including a picture of the legs of the supposedly infected person. The post went viral. The star also reported. As it turns out, everything was very different.
The claim had it all. In it, the man, who describes himself as a doctor, described that he had spoken to the man about the alleged monkeypox infection and the risk of infection, and Arturo M. also wanted to have spoken to another passenger. In the doctor's portrayal, both shone through ignorance and ignorance, and even the prejudice that monkeypox was only a problem for homosexuals was addressed. Instead of insight, the 32-year-old, he wrote, even received an insult. "Don't get on my nerves," the infected person is said to have said.
Now the man accused in the thread has spoken out himself. Speaking to 20 Minutes, he said: "I don't have monkeypox and I've never spoken to him." The man explains that he suffers from a disease called neurofibromatosis, which causes tumors. It is a genetic disease in which growths of altered nerve tissue appear under the skin. Flat, light brown spots appear on the skin. He further reports that many people ask him about his health on the subway and he then explains that his illness is not contagious. "For this reason, I can say that I have never spoken to this so-called doctor," said the man.
But not only the conversation was thought up, also the time when this should have taken place. Arturo M. had dated it to be early in the morning. "It's impossible because I take the first subway from Villaverde Alto and I'm always seated, so he couldn't take pictures of me standing at 6:20 a.m.," he explains. The ominous thread is now offline and the account is set to private. (You can see the archived post here)
At the beginning of May, monkeypox made it to Europe. A first case in Great Britain was followed by outbreaks in Spain, Italy, Belgium. The virus has long since traveled the world. The World Health Organization is alarmed and declared a global health emergency in mid-July. Officially, there are around 19,000 known infections so far, Spain is currently the most affected. The first two deaths in Europe in connection with a monkeypox infection were also reported there.
The prejudice that monkeypox is a problem for men who have sex with other men is not new. In fact, a study recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that 95 percent of monkeypox cases were sexually transmitted. And yes, mostly men are affected. However, the pathogen is not interested in the sexual orientation of its "victim". In principle, the disease can affect anyone. Study author John Thornhill also pointed out: "It is important to emphasize that monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted disease in the traditional sense; it can be transmitted through any kind of close physical contact." But droplet infection is also possible - on the one hand via the lesions mentioned, but also about clothing, bed linen, towels or objects such as cutlery that have been contaminated with the virus through contact with an infected person, writes the Robert Koch Institute.
In a first version of the text, the star had reported on the tweet. The correction of the accused is new.
What: 20 Minutes, Twitter
- Clemens Wendtner treated the first case of monkeypox in Germany - that's how he assesses the situation
- Monkey pox: WHO declares a global health emergency - this is the current situation in Germany
- Monkeypox continues to spread: two dead in Spain, state of emergency in New York
- The journey of the monkeypox virus: what we know about its origins. And why we all need to be careful